Mightier than the sword.: Zenger and freedom of the press
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- 16mm Film, Educational Film, Zenger, John Peter, 1697-1746, Trials (Seditious libel), Freedom of the press, Liberty, Publishing industry, Video broadcasting and technology, Television broadcasting, Social values, Monarchy, Libel and slander, United States history (1951-present), United States of America (USA), Mass media, 1951-present)
- Bloomington, IN : Indiana University
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- Internet Archive
- Internet Archive
A dramatization of the John Peter Zenger case of 1734. After Zenger printed a story about corruption in the New York royal governor's administration, his press was destroyed and he was arrested. Alexander Hamilton, Zenger's counsel, successfully defended him and established the precedent of freedom of the press. From the Cavalcade of America series
Adapted from the 1953 Cavalcade of America TV program. Portrays the libel trial of John Peter Zenger, colonial publisher who dared to pri./ia metadata mightierthantheswordzengerf the royal Governor's administration.
- Whoa whoa. Via his excellent see William cars big captain general and governor of New York New Jersey and territory and order the public burning of issues number seven forty seven forty eight and forty nine of the New York weekly journal from the press of John Peters. Who has caused to be printed and published certain phone scandalous virulent and see dishes reflections upon His Majesty's Reichl government this time Cosby's only burning our papers I wonder what he neighbor next time. Afraid. Not if you and. I am a little but for us for the chosen. One hundred miles per hour for tomorrow or. Our government seeks to impose a new terror any upon the free citizens of these colonies it would limit the liberty of the press. This we cannot allow to happen if we are deprived of the right to print the truth we are less than slaves. Or effect I think Governor cause they won't like it is. I don't know what you mean give you back to being. You know John I can't figure out why we started this table is whatever the reason. I can't forget the old days either working for the Gazette of injustice and dishonest election then the prior to their right to vote but I am a Quaker so I cannot swear I mean free holder I can a real friendly to the against my religion to do otherwise than Star says you cannot unless you swear this is absurd and you know it. This man's right to vote is never been questioned before. Save your oratory for the courts Mr Alexander you may be a big lawyer there but here I run things. Get out of line. I hope the designer that when you're a part of this appears on the good that it will make no detail of how his Excellency conduct a fair election. Little best I can Mr Alexander but I'm afraid Mr Bradford isn't one to offend the governor are we all week leans all of cowards that we fear to offend a man who daily offend us and men like Bradford of the worst kind they have the intelligence to recognize injustice and like the courage to oppose it. Are you the same way as I ARE GOING TO me wrong Mr Alexander I don't own the Gazette I merely work for it. Yes and that gives you the excuse to walk around with your eyes closed refusing to see anything that offends them. It. Seemed too loud against the governor's new taxes and to be rewarded with the public with the twenty. So angry. Just a recent thing. Group. I know I'm just going to get it I don't want to watch. What you do. I did summer. Through Mr Bradford tore up the report I wrote on the election. Quick. Just. For a long time I've been walking around with my eyes closed. Today I decided to open open them to vote. Sane. Like that. You see that I had to do something about telling the truth right. I just couldn't go on printing those lies Branford wanted me to work can you do John. You only know one trade can a lawyer now are just you know just depression. For apps I should print the truth but how well with what. We're what we've saved we could manage. Start Your Own your space. Point. Yes why not. A newspaper that will speak the truth. Why not. Move beyond We've come a long way in this building. With a long way to go and. That's why we must go on burning the truth about my trying to stop. No man in this province can call anything is alone or enjoy any Liberte longer than the governor will condescend to let him do it. This tried my patience to file every day new attacks by Bernie's papers but his words plain bright of another Your Excellency should have burned the shop instead. Yes I begin to think I should I have big to diverse. Sometimes a fire in sight smaller than it destroys. I'm quite aware that De Lancy what's the point of being governor there's no profit in the office and I guess is that while this arrogant may use languages and rivals me in the public prints week after week the people begin to believe him. Somehow he must be destroyed and let us destroy him legally legally Hull had him arrested your Excellency and I charge of alive and against the Crown and yourself and them then find ways to let him rot in his cell for a year before we bring him to trial that people have short memories they will soon forget him so far so good but when he does come to trial but then my Then Mr Bradley here as attorney general we're prosecuting to the full extent of the law or and I was chief justice will preside from the bench. Rendering always unbiased and just decision. Your point is well taken to let's say I doubt of even twelve Good been untrue could withstand the combined elegance of yourself and Bradley then you will issue the order for the rest immediately. This lie blur of my administration should be in jail by week's end. John to her I. Think they let you in flames they wouldn't have a friend that the only hadn't helped to arrange Mr Alexander I came as soon as I found out what caused be a done deal. SANGER I doubted your courage once I was wrong. It's like you're only two right now. I talked but you acted. You'll need a lawyer will you allow me to represent you without charge. Very kind of your sorrow. It's my privilege. Well I'll leave you two alone now there's much I must do. You know my. You know look there and. You don't admire my prison pallor. Alone and that should fuck me up. See by your face. Things go bad but not John. The governor's arranged to delay the trial. Tell a house. By every way he can. By trick great by subterfuge I for. Governors are very clever my. First if that's my belt so impossibly high I can't play it I conspired to keep me present don't you see you cause they want to keep you here a long time before your drum long enough for the people will forgive but you bring with them we mustn't let them forget for you me we still have the press I can still write you can still prints now John it's not worth it but one of the choice that we haven't caused the floods justice at every turn he denies every decent right we're entitled to. Hello can I when a fair trial if I don't strike back at him through the press. Win people over to my cost. Comes a time when a man is going to choose either to fight or to die. I prefer to fight. A brilliant idea of yours Mr De Lancey. Arrest him you said. That will silence him. Silence him indeed for months now he's rather than jail years word shunt louder than ever that if your excellent He had only destroyed his press then ideal visitors and I buy allows the populace to his defense even more than himself has done no really agitated ever more loudly for his trial to begin and the people to make up his cry we must do something we shall he cameras for each trial that he well he shall have it. We too can take our case to the people he is guilty of libel. It can be proved by his journals and he must be made to pay that may not be so easy why is Mr Bradley here in capable of prosecuting successfully Are you incapable of judging single guilty and thereby punishing him accordingly. You forget singer has a rather good lawyer of his own. Mr James M. Xander the best in New York I S.. Jane and Xander another who land since me. Why has he even had the affront raid to protest my appointment of you the Lancy as chief justice. Their arguments may not be without merit your ex and say I am rather younger we say for the office but old enough I trust to deal with lawyer Alexander when he seeks to show cause why you should not precise as Angus trial Surely there are many reasons for which an attorney can be. Despondent. That's right. Disbarred Mr Hamilton. Disbarred by Delancey because I quite properly protested that is a point with a never been approved by the king. It To lend itself or to be dismissed. With Tell Me. Why did you can be to Philadelphia to see me because the man they have appointed to take my place. Young John Chambers is hopelessly inadequate. Only you my friend can save us now. I doubt that even the Lancy would dare to us by the most revered lawyer and all the colonies where you go to New York with me and the fencing and go to New York Now you met Mr Alexander. Look at me. Got in my leg. Garb webs in my mind a body that's but strung together with paste and thread. This is Alexander and eighty years old it for the rubbish heap for the courtroom before I thought that Mr Hamilton I should not of come all these miles to see if you are saying or stands accused of libel against is most scurrilous Excellency governor Cosby in a short while now his trial will begin in a courtroom presided over by the same governor Cosby's funding puppet Chief Justice to Lancy prosecuted by this same governor Cosby's judicial tool Attorney General Bradley and defended by this same governor Cosby's hand picked up point to Mr John Chambers this Mr Hamilton is the courtroom and this the trials to which John Peters saying I'm a shortly submit himself. And of what is he accused. Of speaking the truth. If senators found guilty then we are all guilty but none of us will dare speak the truth again. This Mr Hamilton is the cause of justice for which you say you are too old and too tired to fight. But this I cannot believe you have not fought for the truth for sixty years. Only to abandon it now. As the attorney general I don't charge the defendant Peter zinger with printing and publishing certain thoughts so this is and libels devised to defame the good character I was excellent see the governor. Mr Chambers How did your client answer the charge. Not guilty your honor may it please your honor I have just been advised that my client has engaged another attorney to act as co-counsel ending. And where is this where the gentleman who undertakes to assist the name is handled in your own. Room have. A dream. To render Hamilton of the virus a little wishes to be qualified at the bar in New York. This court is on the presence of so distinguished a barrister's yourself Mr Hamilton. To use on a mission where they're at this bar you will abide by the laws of the gist of the king and all the ordinance is pertaining to the trial of this case I do. May it please your on I made the complaint against my client and been stuck to that I might rely upon the truth of those statements which are said to be libel. Therefore I will say the attorney general the trouble of examining his witnesses to that point. I confess for my clients that he both printed and published in the newspapers set forth in the indictment. Which is played in. Printing and publishing of words that are really so this is and the tenderness quiet the mind of the people I therefore move that the jury be at once instructed to find a very direct of guilty your honor the attorney general has been somewhat hasty in interpreting our concession as an admission of guilt. I observed just now that in defining a libel you use the word scandalous and dishes but omitted the word. The word phones must have some meaning. Else how came it there. True or False Your Honor if you have a bearing upon the gate again I am forced to differ over the attorney general only a faulty statement can make a life. We are here concerned only with the fact of publication. It will not be necessary for the government to prove the Writings phones we are prepared to say the attorney general there. Troubled by proving the writings to be true. And often you cannot be permitted to enter do so. Then I beg leave to inform the jury that the suppressing of evidence on always to be taken as the strongest evidence. Pray Mr Hamilton had a camera to say alive. Cannot be defended murder still alive only even though it may be true. To I could rectally understand your decision to mean. That the greater the truth. The greater the libel if you wish to put it that way. Then I think you're on a. Gentleman. Of the jury. You are for the last Suppose you to be. Twelve honest and lawful make. It is to you that we missed in our appeal for witnesses to the truth we are denied the liberty to prove. For in your justice. Lies our safety. The question before the court. It. Is not a poor printer. Problem. In its consequence affect every free man in America. It is the best. It is the cause of liberty. Every. Freedom to the life of slavery. And. Corrupt. You will. Find.
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